Cultural heritage

Cultural Heritage and forests

Nearly all forests in Europe are the outcome of the work of many generations. Each generation has left its traces, which can still be seen in the forest today. Often from even before sites became forested. Since forests are relatively undisturbed compared to the surrounding landscape, forests are a rich source of cultural heritage.

Unintentional damage to cultural heritage

However, across Europe valuable forest sites and historical artefacts are being damaged in routine forest management activities. This usually happens unintentionally due to a lack of attention, awareness or experience.

Probos supports cultural heritage

Probos has pioneered intensively by researching and highlighting the rich cultural heritage of forests. We transfer knowledge to forest managers and other stakeholders in the Netherlands. The awareness for cultural heritage in the forest sector has grown rapidly since.

From our broad experience in The Netherlands, we can also help other countries who want to focus on the cultural heritage in their forests. We can support you with the inventory of heritage in the field and raising awareness by:

  • sharing best practices (e.g. inventory of heritage and raising awareness)
  • consultancy
  • research programmes
  • training courses

Cultural heritage guide

Based on our experience in The Netherland, we have written the guide ‘Cultural heritage in sustainable forest management; The Dutch perspective’ (also available in German and French). Objective of the guide is to share our lessons learned, which might help others to prevent reinventing the wheel. The guide includes numerous examples, mainly in The Netherlands, but also some in other European countries. This guide is focussed on forest managers and other people who are involved with forest management, such as researchers, policy makers, students and volunteers.

Examples of cultural heritage in forests

Examples of cultural heritage sites in forests are:

  • boundary banks and dykes
  • celtic felds, burial mounds
  • charcoal-burning platforms
  • saw pits
  • bloomery and blast furnace sites
  • tar production sites
  • kilns
  • features associated with game management and forestry
  • ancient wood pastures
  • historic planted forests
  • stands of old industrial or pre-industrial coppice
  • coppice with standards
  • pollards
  • shredded or other ‘working trees’ for the production of acorns, fodder, tar, resins and other products